The pictures were shot in 2012, in last year of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rule. The electoral victory of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in 2013 has improved Iran’s relations with other countries. I made 2-month travel across countries of Central Asia, Iran, and Kurdish territories of Turkey and Iraq. Among these countries Iran turned out to be most democratic state (comparable with Turkey). I had unique opportunity to explore different faces of the country, both ultra-Islamic and very liberal. The pictures from the demonstration in Isfahan are good example. I went there from my friend’s home, who was living ultra liberal lifestyle, even comparing to the West. They were really afraid I can get hurt during the rally. It turned out to be completely wrong. Whole impressive rally looked more like a picnic, with lots of attractions for kids (giant fire among them). All government workers, students, teachers, soldiers, etc. are supposed to be there and scream slogans like “death to Israel”. However, many of them were saying privately “I love America”.
It was my third journey to this part of Asia, and third encounter with Persian nations (they live also in Tajikistan and Afghanistan). I learned Afghan variation of Farsi (Persian) language – Dari, what enabled me simple communication with locals. The language itself turned out to be pretty easy – it’s Indo-European, so it’s more similar to Western languages than e.g. Hungarian. Not only the speech, but also culture and attitude make Iranians very close to us. If we only reject stereotypes, religion and politics it turns out we’re basically the same. Only Persians smile a lot more often!
September 01, 2014